Simulation of Solar Eclipse

These are visually realistic hemispheric and full-sphere views of a total solar eclipse. Ray-tracing is used and things like atmospheric scattering are accounted for, allowing us to see the moon shadow's appearance in the atmosphere and on the ground.

Ground Level View

All-sky simulation of solar eclipse in clear skies looking up at the sky hemisphere from the ground. We see the moon's shadow sweeping across the sky. To render this, the shape of the moon's shadow slicing through the atmosphere is considered. Single scattering is calculated first as light from the parts of the sky in the penumbra are scattered and observed, including when the viewpoint is within the umbra. Limb darkening is accounted for when determining the solar irradiance at various locations in the penumbra. Secondary scattering is estimated to help calculate the sky brightness within the umbra. The location is Jackson Wyoming for the 2017 eclipse. Brightnesses are adjusted uniformly over the images by differing amounts when the eclipse magnitude is somewhat less than unity (when one is significantly outside the umbra). Note the sky (in this clear sky case) would be darker than most eclipses due to the thin clean air at this altitude.

North is up and east is to the left in this fish-eye or dome view. The horizon rings around the edge. We can see Venus coming out near and during totality. The corona is visible even before totality as part of it exceeds the sky brightness, and glare from the bright crescent sun in the camera (or human eye) isn't being included.

Here are cylindrical (360 degree) and polar (upward looking) animated views as MP4 files. The MP4 file creation process is presently creating some banding artifacts that are absent in the still images. I was able to suppress these somewhat with the tradeoff of larger files. These ground views were updated in 2016.

30km Above Ground View (from the stratosphere)

Here we look from 30km above ground level in the stratosphere. The cylindrical and polar still images are just before totality. We get an expansive view of the moon's shadow passing below. The corona is visible even before totality as the sky brightness is very faint at this altitude, and glare from the bright crescent sun in the camera (or human eye) isn't being included.

Here are cylindrical (360 degree VR) and polar (downward looking) animated views as MP4 files. This was made in 2016.

All-sky Model | Steve Albers home page